Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Dad, You're Embarrassing To Me!"

Never, in her 12 years of living, had I heard her say it before. Sure, I expected to. I anticipated it would happen, sooner than later. But I wasn't ready for the sting.

Sting isn't the right word. It was more than that, really. It was a blow. A hard right to the jaw that dropped me to my knees.

After her sorta-boyfriend broke up with her on the telephone by pretending he was someone else (kids today!), I was really angry. Not about the break-up; my 12-year-old daughter doesn't really date, she just sorta "likes." And if the guy likes her too, then I suppose it's a relationship of some sort. But relationships end, and when this one did, she was fine.

I wasn't. It wasn't the rejection that bugged me, but how it went down.

"[The kid] broke up with me," she said. The weird thing was, he called and pretended to be his brother. Like I wouldn't know the difference."

I wanted to find the kid and punch him. To make her feel better I said something to her about calling him out for being a goof. She laughed, and I gave her a hug.

A few days later, she realized I would soon be in the same room with him at a sports banquet, and worried I may have been more serious about calling him out than she first thought. She asked me not to talk to him. I hedged a bit, although she probably didn't realize that because of the subtle way I did it.

I wanted to leave the door open, just in case.

The boy and I had a nice chat at the banquet. Well, I thought it was nice. He, as it turns out, thought I was a jerk and spread that opinion among his friends who were there. Of course, 30 minutes into the event, my daughter heard the news.

"Dad, you're embarrassing to me!"

It wasn't the voice of a kid who said that. It was, instead, the voice of a young woman who was truly embarrassed. She was horrified, and should have been.

I was wrong.

(To be continued)


7 comments:

jackie said...

Yikes!

Keep talkin... :D

MountainLaurel said...

Yes, please do tell!

Although as I recall, the fact that my father breathed and walked around made me horrified when I was that age.

I've got a theory on why this happens, but you'll probably not be interested right at this point.

Bionicbigfoot said...

I am SO glad my daughter is past this phase. Or maybe she just hides it well because I still pay her college tuition..

Stanton said...

I hate to bear this news to you, my friend: You have ten years of this ahead. And it will be worse before it's better.

The only words of consolation I have: You are not alone.

Bionicbigfoot said...

Actually geek you should of just punched the kid square in the face. Remember your Dad and the pony? As a father its your job to make lasting memories like that for your children. You don't want your kids to be heavily medicated drones totally incapable of solving any of life's problems on their own do you? What's the cure? A big dose of paternal resentment! Guaranteed to create self sufficiency, one size fits all!

The Film Geek said...

Jackie: You said it, brother. There's nothing of great substance left to tell. But I'll be telling it.

And MountainLaurel: What's the theory?!?

Bigfoot: :)

And Stanton: I hear ya. You've told me this before, and I do expect it. But it still smarts like hell. I appreciate the company though. A lot.

MountainLaurel said...

My theory is that kids about that age (usually 12-20ish) need to separate from their parents. One way that they do that is to be horribly embarrassed by whatever their parents do. It's a necessary preparation for adulthood. Not easy for either end, but necessary.

Dad embarrassed me beyond belief when I was in junior high. His crime was going to a basketball game that I went to. Didn't sit with me, but he was simply in the stands. And that was MY area.

Dad continued to be a complete embarrassment till I was about mid-20's. In retrospect, he didn't change; I grew to appreciate him more. But if I hadn't I'd have been a complete clone of him, which wouldn't be good either.